JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mickey from Ocala, FL:
Tony Boselli, Hall of Fame … at last. Is this the year?
John: Tony Boselli indeed was named a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist for a second consecutive year on Wednesday evening. That means the former Jaguars offensive tackle is one of 26 candidates in the running to make the Hall next year. The list will be reduced to 15 in January with the 2017 class announced February 4 – the night before Super Bowl LI. Writing on Wednesday evening, Gil Brandt of NFL Media ranked Boselli sixth of the 26 semifinalists – and while that guarantees nothing, it's not insignificant. I sensed legitimate momentum for Boselli late last year when voters really started digging into and studying his career. While he didn't make the hall last year, I had a far better feeling about his chances than I ever had had before. I've always firmly believed Boselli deserves to be in the Hall, though I wondered about his chances because of his career longevity and because people for a long time seemed to overlook his accomplishments. Boselli was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade team. He was perhaps the best left tackle in the NFL during a Golden Age for the position. That has been overlooked by voters for far too long. I'm sensing a significant sea change on that front over the last year or so – and I now believe Boselli indeed will get in at some point. It's hard to predict if this is the year it happens or not, although it's not remotely out of the realm of possibility.
Aaron from Milroy, PA:
You say it's not Bradley's fault that Blake is missing open receivers, but it is. He did not coach Blake properly and did not continue to work on his mechanics during the offseason.
John: LOL. OK.
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Hi John, something tells me Blake will have to compete to be the starting quarterback next year. With every pass being like "a box of chocolates," I hope he spends significant time with his quarterback guru – or whoever – this offseason or he's not going to win that competition.
John: I agree that there's a chance Blake Bortles will have to compete in a significant way for the Jaguars' starting quarterback position next season. That doesn't mean he won't be the starter, but it does mean it may not be guaranteed. And I agree that there's a really good chance he will spend a lot of time with his quarterbacks guru (Adam Dedeaux) this offseason.
Sebastian from Mexico:
MJ play weak side this game?
John: If Telvin Smith does not play Sunday, then yes – Myles Jack will play weak-side linebacker. My guess is Smith will play.
Roger from Jacksonville:
On January 15, 2000, the Jaguars humiliated the Miami Dolphins 62-7 in what would be Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan Marino's last NFL game. Clearly, the football gods were deeply offended by this upstart franchise's impertinence, and placed a curse on the Jaguars. Nothing good has happened to this franchise in the nearly 17 years since that fateful day (starting with the third loss of the season to the Titans a week later). How long must we endure the curse of the Marino? What sacrifice must be made to appease the football gods, and persuade them to grant us mercy?
John: Nah, that ain't it.
Clif from Washington, DC:
"First, I don't believe the Jaguars will be 2-12 ..." Haven't you been wrong on just about everything regarding this season?
John: Yes and no. I thought the Jaguars would be better than 2-7 at this point, but I had serious doubts about whether they would be the playoff-contending team many observers projected. I also said often during the offseason that I believed the offense and Blake Bortles would be the major storylines this season, and that their ability to improve – particularly Bortles' ability to do so – would be what decided success or failure. I also said I believed while the Jaguars' defense wouldn't be great, it would be improved enough to keep the team competitive. So, while I am often wrong – and while I am indeed comfortable drowning daily in a rampaging sea of wrongness, I actually have not been wrong about "just about everything regarding this season."
Jack from Jacksonville:
Well, that wasn't much of a look-ahead Wednesday; it was the same old complaints!
John: What else ya got?
Richard from Orange Park, FL:
This is a tough question to ask as a fan. I suppose as a writer it actually won't be as tough to answer. Is the real reason you stick with Blake this season, and I suppose in a lesser degree Gus, so when you move on from them next year you can do so knowing you gave them every chance? We want to be the franchise that when we sign a player or hire a coach his agent can look to him and say, 'You are getting fair-market value and you are going to get every chance to be a star. It is up to you now.' Do we have the best owner in the league if they were to be ranked top to bottom?
John: You stick with Blake Bortles as the starting quarterback this season for a few reasons – that you believe he is the best quarterback on the roster, that you believe he will work his way through his issues and that you must find out if he is the franchise quarterback going forward. You stick with Bradley because you believe that midseason coaching changes don't yield positive results and because you want to be a stable franchise – and of course because you still believe him coaching is the best chance to win games. I indeed would rank Jaguars Owner Shad Khan at the top of the list of NFL owners. That's perhaps a bit skewed because I have seen first-hand his approach with this team on and off the field. I don't have such first-hand experience with every NFL team, but within the context of what I do know I can honestly say … yes, I believe he's one of the best owners in the NFL.
Kyan from Fort Myers, FL:
Last game the announcers were saying that Johnathan Cyprien was a Top 10 safety in the league?? Am I missing that the other 22 strong safeties in the league have been struggling that bad or am I not realizing that he is playing at a high level? Maybe I am just used to his missed tackles and horrible coverage that I haven't noticed he has changed …
John: Cyprien indeed has played better this season than he did the past three seasons. He appears very definitely to have benefitted from Tashaun Gipson's presence at free safety. The team's hope in the offseason was the addition of Gipson would allow Cyprien to concentrate on playing in the box, where he typically had played OK in the past. He has been able to do that and his play has improved. I wouldn't put him among the Top 10 strong safeties in the NFL, and he still has struggled at times against the pass. Still, he has improved overall – and definitely has improved against the run.
Howard from Loveland, CO:
It may not always be management's fault, but it is difficult to imagine the Denver Broncos having three years like the last three in Jacksonville. Same with the New England Patriots. Don't you feel that coaches and general managers who have a knack for getting the most out of their talent rise to the top?
John: Sometimes yes – and sometimes no. The Patriots and the Broncos are in the middle of remarkable runs of success. There are many reasons for this, and there's no question that Bill Belichick is a remarkable head coach and that John Elway has done a very good job running the Broncos. But I would say the same is true of, say, the Baltimore Ravens – and they had a down year last season. The Green Bay Packers also have outstanding coaching and management – and they are struggling right now. When a franchise goes into a long-time downturn – which the Jaguars certainly have done – it's extremely difficult to escape, although escape indeed does happen. The Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and other teams in recent decades have gone through long droughts. They eventually broke that cycle with runs of success. That will happen with the Jaguars. I can't predict when, but it will happen.
Chuck from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
A TV commentator on Sunday speculated that Bortles has never been benched in his high school, college or pro careers, thus lacks the motivation to fix his mechanics. Any truth to this?
John: I lack the ability to peer into Bortles' soul and know his motivations. I do know he worked hard to fix his mechanics in the 2015 offseason, and I do know that those mechanics seemed to be fine until early this preseason. I don't know how much his high school-playing time had to do with whatever happened in late August, but who knows? Maybe it played a role.
O-Zone: Peering into his soul
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mickey from Ocala, FL: